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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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CNN

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03:00:00

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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Virtual Ch. 759 (CNN HD)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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1920

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1080

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 29, North Korea 22, Dennis Rodman 22, Bob Woodward 17, Washington 16, U.s. 14, Gene Sperling 14, Arizona 13, Pyongyang 11, Sperling 10, United States 8, America 8, South Africa 8, Obama 8, Gaviscon 8, Globetrotters 8, Iraq 7, Google 6, Obama Administration 6, Rodman 6,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    February 28, 2013
    1:00 - 4:00pm PST  

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♪ for the second time this month, a motown family grieving the death of richard street. he joined the r & b sensation group in the early '70s.
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d damon harris died a couple of weeks ago. i'm brooke baldwin. let's take you to washington now. "the situation room" with wolf blitzer starts right now. happening now, they are just about to ring a bell on a roller coaster day, almost history making day on wall street. stay right there. we're going to see how close the dow industrials come to their all-time high. also, what's wrong with this picture up on capitol hill, lawmakers are getting out of town instead of working to help the forced spending cuts that hit tomorrow. plus, look at this. dennis rodman, yes, believe it or not. dennis rodman scoring a diplomatic triumph. there he is. he is sitting right next to the leader of north korea, kim jong-un, courtside at a basketball game in pyongyang. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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all eyes are on wall street. the new york stock exchange closing on a day that saw the dow jones industrial average making a run at breaking its all-time high. our chief business correspondent ali velshi is here in "the situation room" with us today. ali -- >> what a day. >> -- the numbers are going up. >> just flat, basically. we came within 16 points of the record that was set on october the 9th in 2007. so if we got there, you would have just made your money back after more than five years. let me just remind you, in a market that is volatile, which means a lot of computers influence trade trading, you will go down. this will take a few days. for everything else going on in the economy and in washington, this dow is near an all-time
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high. we got to a fire-year high again today. >> it doesn't look like on wall street at least, this concern about forced spending cuts. >> there's a couple of reasons for that. as you know, let's say the forced spending cuts go into effect on saturday morning. up won't see any of the furloughs or layoffs for another month and that's when we have to discuss the budget. so the market thinks you have the end of march, not february. the stock is overvalued. you pay a multiple of that. in a low-interest rate environment, you tend to take a risk. you get nothing by putting your money into a bank account, inflation would eat away at it, so you are pushed into the stock market. so there's more money in the stock market than there would be if interest rates were 5, 6% as opposed to 3 or 4% on mortgages. so that's part of the reason why you're seeing this kind of pressure, upward pressure in the stock market. there are still some people who warn, be careful of a market
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like this. what goes up, goes down. remember, if you're invested in bonds with interest rates where they are starting to go up, bonds are coming down. so if you're an older investor, you don't have choices but to start getting into the stock market and that's why you're seeing so much bubbling and activity. >> 14,054, almost 55. it was 6500. >> unbelievable. >> even though it was at 14,000 in 2007, the next year it was down to 6700. just because it's doing well right now, my advice and your advice to investors out there is stay calm. >> this is a trader's market. remember, it's a trader's market. your investment behavior should not be governed by trading volatility. right now what we're looking at is trading volatility. >> why didn't it go over the top? >> a couple things. there's no real catalyst to it going over the top. economic growth at the end of
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2012 was one-tenth of 1% positive. >> they need 3, 4% to create jobs. >> yeah. this isn't a victory dance. this has taken five years to get here. >> last quarter it was negative growth. >> it was negative and it went from negative one-tenth to positive one-tenth. again, .02 difference. not that big of a deal. it's not a celebratory market. alley, you'll be back. thanks very much. we're now just a day away from those forced spending cuts that will cut across u.s. defense and domestic programs. you might think it's finally time for congress to get serious about doing something to avoid the potential pain out there. but guess what? you would be wrong. our chief congressional correspondent dana bash is up on capitol hill to explain what is going on. go ahead, dana. explain. >> reporter: we can now report that those $85 billion in forced spending cuts will kick in by the end of the day tomorrow. why? because congress is the only
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place that has the power to stop them and they are gone. lawmakers racing down the capitol steps, bolting out of town for a long weekend. this was before noon, a full day before the hammer comes down on forced budget cuts they voted for. is there a concern that you all are going to leave town while these cuts kick in and you won't even be here? >> well, speaker and the leadership will be here and i'm a quick flight away. i go home every weekend to see my family. >> reporter: you're on your way out? are you on your way home? >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: so you're not going to be here in town when these cuts kick in? >> if they call me back, i'll be back. >> reporter: what do you think of the idea that you all and congress won't be here when these cuts kick in? >> we've got to go to the airport. >> reporter: okay. bye. some republicans whose party run the house were unapologetic
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about leaving washington until monday. >> i think it's better when we're at homeworking because the work we do there is more important than the work we do here. >> this was the president's idea. >> reporter: as you all know, most republicans voted for it. >> i voted for it, too, because i think we have to get our spending in line. 2%, most families, most businesses have had to do the same thing. >> reporter: yet some lawmakers in both parties sounded as fed up as their constituents. >> we could stay here and not pass a bill, that's not even better. >> reporter: you're heading to your car. i assume you're going home to new york? >> yes. listen, i think the sequester is crazy. the president should show more leadership. but to sit here makes no difference. >> it's an absolute disgrace that we're going home. we should stay here until this sequester has ended. this is a stupid way to do it. >> reporter: but democrats do run the senate and their last votes this week were only a few hours later.
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>> the motion is not agreed to. >> reporter: two proposals to relieve the forced cuts. partisan show votes. neither passed and neither was expected to. will the senate not be here just like the house won't be here the day that these cuts take place. >> we're in session. we're ready to work. but at this stage we don't have a partner. >> reporter: now, the senate is technically still in session but senators as we speak, wolf, are headed for the airports, most of them getting out of town. leaders in both parties made the point that they will be here tomorrow, of course, for the meeting that they will have with the president at the white house tomorrow morning. but i have not found a source in either party that expects them to do anything to change what is going to happen, at least starting tomorrow night. and that is, those cuts will begin to go into effect. >> but we really, dana, at least everything i'm hearing, saturday, sunday, monday, in the immediate days after these forced budget cuts go into effect, most of americans, all
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of americans really won't feel any direct pain? >> reporter: that's exactly right. you heard jay carney at the white house talk to members of congress. what is going to happen is it's going to be a slow roll. it's going to take some time for the effects of this to trickle down and get to the american public. what we're obviously going to be watching for first is those most obvious to most of us, like airport delays and things like that. it could take a few weeks, even more for people to feel the pain from these cuts. >> yeah, we're going to have more on the president shifting tone on the pain. that's coming up in the next hour as well. dana, thank you. new developments today in what many are seeing as an important side show to this important spending cuts fight. we're talking about the veteran journalist book woodward and his assertions made here in "the situation room" yesterday, his exchange with a senior obama administration official who didn't like what he was
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reporting. today we learned that that official is gene sperling and we're getting some new insight into that exchange as white house officials are going out of their way to say it's all part of a big misunderstanding. let's bring in our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin. she's been doing some digging, reporting on what's going on. what's the latest, jessica? >> reporter: book woodward and gene sperling had a phone call first and then an e-mail exchange. bob woodward said he felt it was threatening and the white house is saying that is ridiculous and a seener adviser, david pluf, is sort of mocking bob wood ward sending out a tweet comparing him to an aging sports star. watching woodward the last few days is like watching mike schmidt facing live pitching again. perfection gained once is
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repeated. ouch. here's what the drama is all about. an intimidating threat or a friendly exchange between a reporter and a white house official? >> they are not happy at all. >> reporter: at issue, a spat over bob woodward's reporting on the president's plan to avoid the looming forced spending cuts. >> it was said very can clearly, you will regret doing this. >> who sent that e-mail to you? >> well, i'm not going to say. >> was it a senior person? >> a very senior person. >> reporter: that official was gene sperling, director of the economic council and according to the white house, his e-mail was no threat at all. in a statement, a press official said, the note suggested that mr. woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more. >> gene sperling, in keeping with a demeanor i have been familiar with for more than 20 years was incredibly respectful. can you not read those e-mails and come away with the
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impression that gene was threatening anybody. >> reporter: the key here, all important context. in the e-mail exchange obtained by politico, sperling writes, i apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. my bad. but i do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying that the president asking for revenue is moving the goal post. i know you may not believe this, but as a friend, i think you will regret staking out that claim. woodward replies, you do not ever have to apologize to me. this is all part of a serious discussion. i, for one, welcome a little heat. now woodward says it was too hot. >> it makes me very uncomfortable to have the white house telling reporters, you're going to regret doing something that you believe in. >> reporter: the president says he values a free press that is not afraid to ask questions, to examine and to criticize. >> uh-huh.
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>> reporter: as he ever spoken to his aides about the tone he would like you to take when talking to reporters? >> we are enormously respectful of the work that you do and that i used to do and we also believe it's important for us to make clear when we think somebody is out there getting the facts wrong. >> reporter: wolf, sources sometimes get animated as they try to share their perspective and it's up to each reporter and each interaction to decide what's taking place in that individual instance, wolf. >> well, certainly -- and i think you will agree, jessica, based on that e-mail exchange at least, i don't know what happened in the extensive and fairly angry phone conversation that gene sperling and bob woodward had on the e-mail exchange, it doesn't look like on the surface that it's all that awful. certainly there was no direct threat or anything like that. you will be punished or whatever. it was relatively tame and maybe this whole sidebar is being
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overblown. >> reporter: right. it does not seem to be any -- there's no explicit threat in that e-mail. so if something happened in the conversation, we just can't know about it. we won't know. but i agree with you, and i know from working with gene sperling, i personally have never been bullied by him. he gets very excited and very, very talkative. sometimes more talkative than anybody really expects when you're on the phone with him. but i do not myself see the threat in the e-mails. again, though, you can't speak for another reporter and what they might feel in their own interactions. >> no. all of us know gene sperling very well and bob woodward very well at the same time. obviously both very honorable guys. i've worked with gene sperling going back to the clinton white house when he worked there at that time and he's not the type -- he likes to talk, as you point out, but he doesn't make any brutal threats, anything along those lines or anything
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like that. bob wood dlds ward, one of the premier, if not the premier washington journal reporters. we invited them, by the way, to come in here to "the situation room" and have a little peacemaking session and they declined. good news coming out of all of this, gene sperling will be candy crowley's guest on the state of the union address. we'll tie up all of the loose ends at the same time. both very, very good guys, gene sperling and bob woodward and i'm sure before too long the two of them will be having dinner at a fansing washington here in washington making nice to each other. >> reporter: over an expensive bottle of wine, yes. >> thanks jessica yellin for that. now we turn to the history making events at the vatican. where pope benedict xvi no longer is the leader of the 1.2 billion roman catholics. his resignation the first of any
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pope in nearly 600 years took effect a couple hours ago. christiane amanpour is joining us. benedict ended his reign a couple of hours ago. what's it like now? what's the mood there? >> reporter: well, listen, i think people are taking it in stock and moving forward but i must say a couple of hours ago when 2:00 p.m. eastern, 8:00 p.m. local, the swiss guard, the traditional guard that protects the pope walked inside, closed the doors when he was at castel go gandolfo and you got that sense of finality t, it's been very dramatic when he flew in his helicopter, landed there, came out on the balcony of the summer residence and told people, i am no longer pope today. i am just a pilgrim. all of a sudden the emotion and enormity of what happened,
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because it's a precedent-setting event, all of that set in and you saw the pope look almost -- i don't know. almost relieved when he gave his last blessing. having looked very tired in morning in his meeting with the cardinals and yesterday during his papal address, i thought he looked rather tired and frail but unburdened, i think he is now feeling relieved. i spoke to timothy dolan of new york who is considered amentioned by many to be a front run arer. he, of course, played that down but said what would be looked for in the next pope. >> one of the natural characteristics that we're looking for? well, you need a good pastor, somebody who is good with people, like jesus was. you need somebody thoroughly versed in the catholic wisdom. number three, you need somebody savvy about the church universal
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who is aware and conscious of the diverse needs of the catholic family. number four, you need somebody who can get by in italian and preferably other languages, too. and number -- where am i? >> five, six. >> you need somebody with some governing capacity, some managerial skills. i would presume those are the qualities we would look for. >> right. >> reporter: now, many people say that it's unlikely that there will be an american pope at this time but on the other hand, some say you just never know and the field is wide open and the whole situation right now is so uncertain. so you don't know. but of course the other thing i spoke to cardinal dolan about and like i did with cardinal mccarrick, the pope has to get through all these scandals that have rocked this church and turned off so many catholics. most particularly the priest sexual abuse scandal has to finally come to a conclusion
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whereby there's full accountability and transparency and i think everybody knows going into the conclave that is going to have to be front and center of all their calculations for the future. wolf? >> when you spoke to cardinal dolan about that, what did he say? how does he think the church needs to deal with all of these problems? >> reporter: well, i think he feels that the church has done a lot. obviously since it first exploded this terrible scandal and these crimes, really, wolf, against these young people that date back decades, that this explosion in the u.s. in 2002 and swept europe in 2010 and pope benedict is the first pope to have apologized and met with abuse victims, who instituted a zero tolerance policy. that needs to be fully implemented. there has to be a zero toll trans policy, not just for those who abuse but also for those who shielded the abusers for so long and prevented those abusers from being held accountable and farm them out to different parishes.
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so lots and lots of different catholics are looking for that to happen and many people who are not catholic want to see that happen in the catholic church because as you well know, the pope is not just pope of 1.2 billion catholics around the world. what he does and says and what he represents really matters even outside the catholic faith. wolf? >> it certainly does. christiane amanpour joining us from rome. coming up in "the situation room," i'm going to speak live with a a sheriff who is furious with the obama administration. he says they have no problems releasing criminals on to the streets of his county. also coming up, dennis rodman. he's become a diplomatic mvp in north korea. what's going on? [ nyquil bottle ] hey tylenol, you know we're kinda like twins. [ tylenol bottle ] we are?
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in the history of international diplomacy, these have to be some of the strangest pictures ever. take a look at this. north korea's leader kim jong-un and dennis rodman sharing laughs at an expedition basketball game in north korea. he's the first american, according to all information we have, to meet with the new leader of north korea. at least today, tension over north korea's nuclear weapons, its long-range missiles gave way to appreciation of some other kind of long-range baskets. cnn's mary snow is joining us. this is a story. it's hard to believe, mary. it's almost amazing that of all people in the united states, the first person that the north korean leader wants to meet with is dennis rodman. >> it almost seemed like a fake story when you first heard about it and it's hard to imagine
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getting more bizarre than this. dennis rodman arrived earlier this week to film a documentary. today came a surprising bond with kim jong-un. it's such a strange pair, a truly odd couple. basketball star dennis rodman and north korean dictator kim jong-un chumming it up court side in pyongyang. he told his new buddy, he now has a friend for life. they watched the harlem globetrotters play basketball. >> the tag line for the show is the absurdity of the modern condition. if anything shows the absurdity of the modern condition, it's this. >> shane smith is the show's producer. he sent rodman and the globetrotters to north korea. its was not sure they would have an audience with a feared leader. they not only met with him but dined with him at his palace
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after the game. once at the palace, the theme from the show "dallas" was said to be constantly playing in the background. the bizarre meeting comes weeks after north korea announced it conducted a nuclear test and tensions with the u.s. are particularly high. former white house adviser and negotiator victor cha says while this meeting is surprising, kim jong-un has done a lot of predictable things since taking over. >> i think north koreans try to use opportunities like this to congratulate themselves on their accomplishments, as well as congratulate their new leadership on a world stage. so, yes, it is a poke in the eye of the administration because outside the world of basketball diplomacy, things are moving in a completely different direction. >> while north korea has no love for the u.s., they have a soft spot for basketball, particularly the chicago bulls. madeleine albright gave kim
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jong-il a basketball signed by michael jordan. >> if we can have open communication, dialogue, that's what we hope comes out of this. >> and from what we're hearing from the production company, the film crew is said to have invited kim jong-un to north america and it came with laughter. mixed teams of both americans and north korean players. the final score was tied at 110. this series is part of a show that is airing on hbo next month. wolf? >> i think in april it's going to be airing. isn't that right? >> yes. >> i was looking closely at the pictures that you got, mary. you'll see the new leader there and when i was there in pyongyang and my handler, as we
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used to call him, a very nice guy in north korea, i see he's working with dennis rodman, helping him appreciate a little korean. i spotted a few other people i knew as well. i could report that when i was there, basketball is huge. nba basketball especially, because kim jong-un's dad, kim jong-il loved michael jordan and the chicago bulls. >> it's really amazing. who knew. >> in our next hour we'll speak with shane smith, the man who organized this trip. we have some good questions for him as well. all right. stand by, mary. thanks very, very much. there's a new decision, a major decision by the white house on the issue of gay marriage that is just coming out. stand by. we'll share it with you when we come back. nurses are dealing with a wider range of issues. and there are ever-changing regulations.
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the white house has just made a major decision on the very sensitive issue of gay marriage in the united states. joe johns is watching what's going on. tell our viewers what happened. >> wolf, it's been clear for some time that the obama administration supports gay rights and generally supports gay marriage. the president said as much as recently as his inaugural speech but now we're moving towards arguments in the united states supreme court next month and the obama administration has made a decision in a brief that it is going to support gay marriage in the case of proposition 8 and also it's making an equal protection argument. that, of course, is a very clear sign of where the administration is going. we kind of expected this.
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nonetheless, it's interesting to see that they are talking about equal protection. the bigger question, which we haven't gotten yet and we're still waiting to see more of the brief, is whether the administration will seek some type of right for gay marriage nationwide across all the states. that, of course, is a huge leap because 41 states in this country have laws that say marriage is defined as between a man and a woman. so we're seeing the administration moving closer and closer to defining their position before the supreme court for next month in arguments. >> so we're basically now saying that the obama administration is weighing in on two sensitive issues, the repeal of marriage act, that has come before the u.s. supreme court and a separate proposition in california. so what you're saying is the president, the white house, the obama administration is saying in california there should be gay marriage but they haven't broad denned it out to say it should be all over the country? >> the truth is, our problem is we don't know what the whole
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brief says. we only know a bit of it and you know how people leak things. we need to wait until we see what the entire brief says to see they are supporting gay marriage across all 50 state, which would be a very big deal. >> it certainly would. joe johns, thanks for that news. up next, we're going to be joined by an arizona sheriff who is furious right now with the obama administration. he says criminals have been set free and the public safety in his county is threatened because of what he calls a political tactic in this fight over forced spending cuts. transitions® lenses automatically filter just the right amount of light. so you see everything the way it's meant to be seen. maybe even a little better. vsp members can save on all authentic transitions lenses, including our new transitions vantage and transitions xtractive lenses.
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county southeast of phoenix and more than 150 miles north of the mexican border. the department website quotes the sheriff as complaining, president obama would never release 500 criminal illegals to the streets of his hometown, yet he has no problem with releasing them in arizona. janet napolitano demanding detailed information about the identity and the criminal records of detainees who were released. sheriff babu is joining us live from phoenix. >> thanks for having me on. >> the white house says it has made a decision based on career professionaled at i.c.e. and really that they had no involvement in it. napolitano had no involvement in it. do you believe them? >> no, i don't. it's the same story line with operation fast and furious and
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benghazi and now when hundreds of criminal illegals are let loose in my community, many of which were not even arrested here and then we hear these excuses and pointing the fingers, i'm tired of hearing excuses. i want answers and that's why i sent this letter to secretary napolitano. >> did they -- they didn't give you any advanced word that they were about to release -- you originally said 500 but it's a little bit less, right? >> it's over 300 and this -- i'm still being told by not only i.c.e. agents but by supervisors that it's higher. and this was done under the cloak of secrecy. i.c.e. never announced this. they never called any police chief in my county or myself as a top law enforcement official. there was no preparation or coordination with that. we know that the return of committing crimes is very high with any prison population and certainly with these folks because they are illegals and
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they have many of them felonies and they are not able to work here legally in most cases here in the united states. so what's their likelihood to reoffend and commit crimes against citizens in our state? it's very high. it's troubling that they would do this. >> i.c.e. stands for the immigration custom enforcement agency. part of the homeland security. i.c.e. has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention. priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety. what they are basically saying is that these several hundred illegal immigrant detainees really don't pose much of a threat. they didn't really commit serious crimes. what do you say to them? >> it's laughable, quite honestly. we all have differences of opinion about the 11 million
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illegals here in the united states. what do we do? do we have a path to citizenship, outright amnesty citizenship or no citizenship? but we've all agreed up until this release, 34 thourngs of that 11 million that we identify as the most serious criminal offenders, that they are to be identified, imprisoned, on their way to deportation. even secretary napolitano and president obama said these people should be deported. and now we're hearing a completely different story. and to think that is somehow we can provide supervised release on people who have no incentive to report in to the authorities, no incentive to comply with their release, they will cut their ankle bracelet because what's the worse that can happen? you're going to deport them? that's the reality of this. >> you were going to deport them supposedly. in any case. so what do you want to hear now from janet napolitano, the homeland security secretary? >> i want answers. and the reason i want answers is
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because hundreds of criminals have been released into communities i've sworn an oath to protect families. i've already asked for this information. i want their names, the offenses that they are incourse rated for and their criminal history and they have told me no. and now this was a federal problem and they just shoved it right in front of me and they were on their way to do this with thousands and thousands until we brought them out into the light of day and held them to account and thank you for talking about this publicly and you're helping in this. >> sheriff paul babeu, thank you for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> we'll have more on the release of the immigrant detainees coming up later here in "the situation room" during the 6:00 p.m. hour. the arizona governor, january brewer, she's got very strong views of what is going
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on. she'll join us live during the 6:00 p.m. hour. iraq was supposed to be the beacon for freedom. that's why the u.s. went in and got rid of suddam hussein. instead, some iraqis are comparing the current leader to suddam hussein and they are warning that a new civil war may not be far off. what's goingen in iraq? our own fareed zakaria is standing by. in iraq? our own fareed zakaria is standing by. in iraq? our own fareed zakaria is standing by. n iraq? our own fareed zakaria is standing by. on iraq? our own fareed zakaria is standing by. [ male announcer ] shaq versus pain.
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a car bombing today in baghdad killed 20 people and left others wounded. bombings and violence right now in iraq there on the upswing. even though next month marks ten years since the start of the war that overthrew suddam hussein, the situation is getting worse by the day. fareed zakaria is joining us here in "the situation room" to talk about what is going on. fareed, i'm going to play a clip. i spoke with arwa damon, our senior international correspondent yesterday. she's back from a month in iraq and she painted a very gloomy picture ten years after the start of the war. listen to this clip. >> we now have a nation that effectively looks more towards iran than it does towards the west. we have a nation that is allowing weapons to cross its border, turning a blind eye effectively to the weapons moving from iran to the syrian
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battlefield. the sectarian tensions are threatening to boil over. the iraqi prime minister is being compared to a shia version of suddam hussein. you have a government that in its essence, in its very formation is so fundamentally flawed. >> so the question is, far read, for this situation in iraq right now, the u.s. paid such a high price in blood and pressure. >> it's a tragedy, wolf. and it really is attributable to certain key decisions made by the bush administration. you remember when they came into iraq, they disbanded the army, the bureaucracy, which meant kicking all of the sunnis out of power and they chose instead to go with a shia strong man, mall la key, the second iteration of it. and by making that decision, they were saying we're going to go with the majority.
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we want stability. we want to go with this. two things, one, you've got a civil war because the sunnis started fighting and it hasn't stopped yet. a car bomb today killed 22 people. the second thing it did was create a majority government that was a hard line shia government aligned with iran and aligned with assad in syria. >> it's a pretty shocking situation that's unfolding right now because it certainly wasn't supposed to be this way. when we learned about that so-called surge that david petraeus, the architect -- that was supposed to turn things around and the u.s. was going to be able at some point to be able to withdraw and a democratic pro-western regime in baghdad but that has not happened. >> no. the surge bought us time for an honorable exit. petraeus himself always said the surge was a precondition for talks that created a political
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deal. but the problem was that maliki never wanted a political deal. it means power sharing. maliki represents a hard line straight of pro-iranian shia which says, why should we make a deal? we're the rulers now. the sunni are the minority. let them suffer the way we suffered, in their imagination, centuries. so that's the problem. we never got a deal that brought all parties to the table and said we've got to create an iraq that is truly incorporates these three communities. they blew it when they decided to go down a shia sectarian route when they could have gone down a government of national unity. >> this bizarre picture of dennis rodman formerly of the nba sitting along kim jong-un, the leader of north korea. you can't make this kind of
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stuff up, far read. >> it is truly extraordinary. i think it does suggest something we've realize the. this guy is weird. on the one hand he's firing missiles and threatening war. on the other hand, he wants the ceo of google to come in, he wants dennis rodman to come in. he wants the globetrotters to come in. if it wasn't as threatening as it was, you would just have to laugh and view this has great entertainment in high politics. >> he wouldn't meet with bill richardson or the google of but he is meeting with dennis rodman. we'll have more on this story coming up in "the situation room." it is amazing when you think about it. far read, thanks very much. >> pleasure, wolf. you won't want to miss fareed's gps show on sunday. this is an exclusive interview sunday morning, 10:00 a.m.
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eastern. 10:00 a.m. eastern only here on cnn. the government bought gulf stream jets in the fight against terrorism. why are high-ranking officials using that for personal travel? that story and more coming up after the break. this is my family. this is joe. hi joe! hi there! earn a ton of extra points with the double your hhonors promotion and feel the hamptonality. [ barking ] ♪ come on, boy! [ barks ] ♪ oh, heavenly day here we go. ♪ cha-cha-cha ♪ don't you know that i love ya ♪ ♪ cha-cha-cha-cha-cha ♪ always thinking of ya ♪ all around the world ♪ everybody singin' along ♪ singin' along ♪ fly me to the moon ♪ let me play among the stars
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attorney general eric holder says the coming budget cuts will make americans less safe but af parentally he wasn't concerned about money woes when he flew on luxury sets paid for by the federal government. now the united states senator is slamming eric holder and robber
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muller for spending $11 million for flying in these jets. what is going on? we asked jim oi acosta to investigate. what is going on? >> why can't the cabinet secretaries cut the waste in their departments first before eliminating critical programs? that's the question to attorney general eric holder over his use of the government's jets. with the clock ticking down to the forced budget cuts, attorney general eric holder issued a dire warning this week when he said agents at you a law enforcement agencies would face furloughs. >> under sequestration, we'll do our best but the reality is, there is going to be harm. there is going to be pain and the american people are going to be less safe. >> iowa republican senator chuck grassley immediately said he wasn't buying it. >> it's the old washington
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monument mentality, you're going to shut down the washington monument. >> grassley points to this recent accountability report where fbi directors have been flying on pricey aircraft for years. the report said the attorneys general and the fbi director were the primary users of department of justice aircraft for nonmission purposes from fiscal years 2007 through 2011 at a cost of $11.4 million. this aircraft is supposed to be used for counterterrorism purposes but the report found for the four-year period, 56% of the travel was used by the attorney general for business travel while 41% was for personal trips. the report covers not just current attorney general eric holder but some of his successors. >> it's really worse when you have the situation that they are complaining about because of sequestration they are going to have to lay off fbi apths. >> one flight taken by holder on
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the gulfstream cost the government nearly $15,000 but holder was only required to reimburse the government for $420. the justice department and fbi say the first priority is always counterterrorism and saying, the report makes clear that the overwhelming majority of travel termed nonmission travel has been for official business travel. other sen tors claim the pentagon shouldn't be cutting back on critical programs when the tv channel is producer workout programs. but dick durbin says that's missing the point and the forced budget cuts by law don't give departments much discretion can on where to cut. >> i can tell you, it's never that simple and they know it. when you start moving money this late in the game and with few options, your hands are tied. >> it's mandated by law that the attorney general and fbi director take government flights with secure for national
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security reason. they just want the government to manage its money more ee specific tifl. wolf? >> thanks very much for that report. for 500 years, the swiss guard has kept the pope safe from harm. that job has changed a lot over the years. coming up, cnn talks to a former swiss guard that tells all about the time he spent at the vatican. ♪ (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. so i used my citi thankyou card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes?
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with 50% more medicine. pain over. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, stranger things have happened but the first to meet kim jong-un is dennis rodman. the softer side of barack obama, from tears to laughter, the president is now sharing some of his emotions. and for the first time in 600 years, a pope retires. we're going to hear from a former member of the vatican's elite guard who new benedict long before he became pontiff. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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we begin with the improbable and even bizarre images of history in the making right now. take a good look at this. the controversial nba star dennis rodman in pyongyang watching a basketball game with north korea leader kim jong-un. that would make rodman the first to meet the nuclear leader of the north. by all accounts, a huge chicago bulls fan and it's going to be part of a "vice" magazine reality show on our sister network hbo. joining us with how this came about is the "vice" co-founder shane smith. thanks for coming in. i assume like you, like me, you
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were amazed by what is going on right now? >> it's beyond words, really. i've been there twice. i know you've been there as well. it's one of the hardest countries to get in to, especially as a journalist. and so after my second time i realized that basketball was the sort of only american past time or cultural pursued that is in north korea and so i asked our producer to go over there with dennis and the harlem globetrotters to have this sort of basketball diplomacy, if you will. >> an amazing diplomacy. i will point out that they invited the new york philharmonic to come over as well and they were well-received when they came over to pyongyang. it does send a message. so walk us through. you pitched this idea? was it your initiative?
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was it their initiative? how did it come about? >> it came about when i went to the kim il-song and there was the famous basketball that was given to kim jong-il that madeleine albright gave to him signed by michael jordan. since then, basketball and the bulls in particular have become -- i won't say heroes but very, very respected within north korea. so we came back and we thought, hey, why don't we put together a team, go over there, play some basketball, you know, work with the kids, and see what comes up. we thought that kim jong-un would come to the game but we weren't sure. then he showed up to the game, had a blast, was hanging out with dennis rodman and they were
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enjoying it and then invited the whole crew, the vice crew and globetrotters and dennis back to his palace for a big banquet and a hang and lots of speeches and apparently that went great. >> you know, it is really amazing when you think about it. we're showing pictures of dennis and the harlem globetrotters there. i will give a shoutout to brian duffy. they are all there right now. by the way, that interpreter that you see there, when i was there, he was the same guy. very nice guy, by the way. what are you hearing from them? have you been in communication with them? are they allowed to make phone calls, send e-mails? have you been in direct touch? >> i have been, which, as you know, it's quite a change. because it used to be when you went in, you couldn't take computers or phones. you for sure couldn't tweet or send e-mails. but i talked to ryan, our correspondent this morning. he told me about this speech in
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which he invited kim jong-un and his delegation to come to america and see how we live. dennis made a very heartfelt speech that was very well received. there was a lot of laughter, a lot of clapping. now, what ryan said to me was that dennis said, i can't confirm it until i talk to dennis, that he wished this would bring north korea and american relations closer or in a better way. so for us that was just -- we couldn't believe that. so i -- hopefully, there's a lot of questions. you've been there. it's as diametrically opposed as you could be philosophically to america. if you go there and play some basketball and -- i mean, who doesn't love the harlem globetrotters? they put a smile on everybody's face. >> they certainly do. it's amazing because those of us old enough to remember ping-pong diplomacy and the u.s.-china
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relations, that was a bridge. maybe this will do something. did you get clearance? did you ask the state department, the obama administration for a green light before you went? >> no, we did not. we put it together ourselves. i had had some contact from my trips over there. they then sent it here to the united nations delegation and their team here. we worked a lot with them. they came out to our offices. we ran through the whole program with them and, you know, we actually didn't really know, you know, if we were all going to get in until we got to beijing. so it was is a sort of last minute -- not last minute but we didn't really know until the last minute. >> with all due respect, dennis rodman was a great, great player for the chicago bulls and we love the harlem globetrotters. there's only one thing, if
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michael jordan himself would have gone, that would have blown out the entire place over there, i can assure you. don't you agree? >> 100%. michael jordan is a god, the greatest player that ever played the game but he's a huge god in north korea. michael, if you're watching this, basketball diplomacy. get over there. we need your help. >> it would be amazing if he goes. let me point out, i'm happy to go with him. i'd like to meet kim jong-un. so many people have gone over there. it when i was there with bill richardson, former ambassador to the united nations, we were there for six days and more recently richardson was back with the head of google. they met with top officials but certainly not with kim jong-un. what you're saying is there was no guarantee of this meeting but you assumed it would take place and they would watch basketball
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together? >> we didn't assume. we hoped. we thought because we knew of his love of basketball and his love of the chicago bulls, much like his father, that he would come out and he did and enjoyed the game and then much to our surprise and reality, asked everybody back to his house and they had supper and a lot of talks. and so we're waiting to get the footage back with bated breath. >> we'd love to speak to dennis and the other guys either from there or from beijing. i know they used to have to fly from pyongyang and we'd like to get their first eyewitness accounts of what is going on. >> absolutely. we'll get our correspondent. they both have crazy stories to tell, i'm sure. >> i'm sure.
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we're anxious to share that with our viewers around the world. the hotel i stayed at in pyongyang, give our best to dennis and the other guys. appreciate it very much. >> thank you, wolf. the united states got more deeply involved in another world trouble spot promising syria's rebel fighters a big increase in food and medical supplies. that came at a high-level conference in rome. here is cnn's senior affairs correspondent jill dougherty. >> reporter: wolf, it's clear that there will be a division of labor among the countries trying to help out the syrian opposition with the u.s. still taking a cautious approach. in rome, standing next to the leader of the syrian opposition's political wing, secretary of state john kerry pledged $60 million in additional aid. >> we need to stand on the side
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of those who want to see syria rise again in unity. >> reporter: and for the first time, direct help for syrian rebel fighters. >> given the stakes, the president will now extend food and medical supplies to the opposition, including to the syrian opposition's supreme military council. >> reporter: but those supplies will not include what the opposition says it wants. weapons. instead, the aid will help the opposition coalition provide basic goods and services in areas liberated from government control. things like sanitation, security, and education. u.s. officials anxious to keep any supplies out of the hands of extremists say it will be given only to carefully vetted members of the free syrian army. but other countries are going further. some gulf states are providing weapons and one european nation wants to give opposition
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fighters transport vehicles, night vision goggles, and body armor. u.s. officials tell cnn the obama administration is considering that as well. >> i am absolutely confident, from what i heard in there from other foreign ministers, that the totality of this effort is going to have an impact on the ability of the syrian opposition to accomplish its goals. >> reporter: the opposition leader did not directly respond to secretary kerry's announcement but he did criticize media reports on the opposition saying they pay more attention to the length of the beard of a fighter than to the massacres carried out by the sear yej regime. asked how quickly this new assistance can get into the hands of the syrian opposition, k k kerry said he will bref after he
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gets back from the trip. wolf. >> jill dougherty, thank you very much. a day after bob woodward said that he felt intimidated by the white house, e-mails have surfaced and we'll update you in "the situation room." and benedict xvi becomes the first pope in some 600 years to retire. we're going to hear from a former vatican insider and papal guard who once knew him well. none of us would want to be told we can't marry the person we
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love. as americans, we believe in freedom. that's what i fought for as a marine, and that's what we believe in as republicans. freedom means freedom for everyone. i didn't use to understand the importance of same-sex marriage, but after learning my brother was gay i wanted the same rights for him. he was the best man at my wedding and i want to be the best man at his. it's only fair that calvin should have the freedom to marry the person he loves, too. it's time for marriage.
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killed and two other people were killed. word coming in to "the situation room" of other news that we're watching, including new developments on the white house and the appointment of united states ambassadors, the tradition of plum diplomatic posts. jessica yellin is joining us with details. what's going on? are. >> reporter: wolf, i'm learning that the president has made all but final selections for key ambassadorial posts and people who raised a lot of money for the campaign will be getting some of the top jobs. of course, nothing illegal about this but for the president who says he wants to get money out of politics, this is definitely sullying some of that brand. among those names, mark marc lasry, a hedge fund manager, helped to raise up to a million dollars for the obama campaign,
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once upon time he was a big clinton backer but now an obama supporter likely headed to france. also, patrick gaspard is the likely pick for ambassador to south africa. moving on, matthew barzun also raised close to a million dollars. he was also a major donor in the 2008 campaign and went on to then be ambassador to sweden. another name you'll recognize, caroline kennedy. she's being considered for a posting, though a very good post says she has not been asked to be appointed to any particular country. she has not been vetted for any particular country so this is very early stages. but they are looking at her for a posting. big picture dialing this back, wolf, again, none of it even that unusual. this is what presidents tend to do. they award their political donors with nice jobs like this.
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why is this different? because the president, president obama said he would be different and so we're pointing out, this really does seem to be more of the same, wolf. >> let's shift gears briefly to those forced spending cuts that go into effect tomorrow night at midnight. i take it the president has just released a statement on his meeting tomorrow with the bipartisan congressional leadership? >> that's right. he has released a statement talking both about the bill that passed today in the senate, congratulating democrats on passing their bill but it failed because it didn't get 60 votes, and then saying that it's time for everybody to get something done. he says tomorrow i will bring together leaders from both parties to discuss a path forward. as a nation, we cannot keep lurching from one manufactured crisis to another. middle class families can't keep paying the price for washington
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dysfunction. a lot of this, wolf, is political theater because everybody expects that tomorrow's meeting is really just a photo opportunity and we will enter into this forced spending cuts drama for some time to come. >> certainly will. we'll have more on this story coming up as well. jessica, thank you. the legendary journalist bob woodward suggested that he felt intimidated by a senior white house official. e-mails have surfaced raising some doubts about what happened. we'll update you when we come back. ♪
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the legendary journalist bob woodward of the washington post raised some eyebrows yesterday when he suggested he felt intimidated by the obama white house in the coverage of the forced spending can cuts. listen to this. >> they are not happy at all and some people said, look, we don't see eye to eye on this. they never really said, though, afterwards they said that this is factually wrong and it was said to me in an e-mail. >> what was said? >> it was said very clearly, you will are regret doing this. >> who sent that e-mail? >> well, i'm not going to say. >> was it a senior person at the
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white house? >> a very senior person. it makes me very uncomfortable to have the white house telling reporters, you're going to regret doing something that you believe in. >> today cnn confirmed that gene sperling, the head of the white house council of economic adviserses, the national economic council, i should say, he is the senior official that had that exchange of e-mails with bob wood barred that followed a lengthy and pretty angry phone call. let me read for the full exchange as reported today by politico. this is gene sperling first. bob, i apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. my bad. i do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. but perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here but doi truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying that the
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president of the united states asking for revenues is moving the goal post. i know you may not believe this but as a friend i think you will regret staking out that claim. the idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand bargain and it was part of the dna from the thing of the start t was an accepted part of the understanding from the start. really. it was assumed by the republicans on the supercommittee that came right after. it was assumed in the november and december 2012 negotiations. there may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the boehner/obama negotiations were locked in bca. i agree there are more than one side to our disagreement but, again, think this latter issue is different. not out to argue and argue on
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this latter point. just my sincere advice. your call obviously. my apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. feel bad about that and truly apologize. gene. to which woodward replied. gene, you do not ever have to apologize to me. you get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. this is all part of a serious discussion. i for one welcome a little heat. there should be more given the importance. i also welcome your personal advice. i am listening. i know you lived all this. my partial advantage is that i talked extensively with all involved. i am traveling and will try to reach you after 3:00 p.m. today. best, bob. that's the full exchange of the e-mails. let's discuss what is going on in our strategy session. joining us is democratic strategist donna brazil and former bush white house press secretary ari fleischer. ari, you were a white house
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press secretary. what did you think of this exchange? was it intimidating? was it threatening? what did you think? >> wolf, i've been there. this is a heated relationship at times and that's the way it always has been, always will be. you know, i think intimidation is in the eye of the intimidatee. if woodward thought it was a threatening e-mail, that's how he would take it. listening to your version of the e-mails, i can see how the white house would say it's not the way woodward would interpret it but woodward interpreted it that way. a number of other reporters have come out, lenny davis said on behalf of john solomon, a long-time washington reporter, that they have received similar messages from the white house. it's a rough white house. they are not shy about throwing high and inside at reporters. comes with the territory. >> what did you think, donna? because you know gene sperling. you obviously know bob woodward
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as well. what we don't know is how angry the phone conversation was that preceded this i think relatively tame exchange of e-mails. >> well, i'm sure ari understands that when you're in that moment and you have to try to get across the administration's point of view, it's important that you push back and of course journalists have every right to push back and sometimes it becomes heated. the bush white house was tough. the clinton white house was tough. the reagan white house was tough and i'm sure that the obama white house is tough. when it's trying to get out of the facts. and not just get in to a superficial conversations around real policy matters. we spent now about 24, 48 hours talking about whether or not someone using the word regret is a threatening word. i live in the real world. so i know there are more -- there are some words that really do threaten. but i do believe that gene sperling is a professional. he's done a terrific job as head of national economic council.
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i've known him for over 25 years. he's a humanitarian. i would like to consider himself as my brude. whenever you see something printed wrong, perhaps not as you believe it to be, i think reporters as well as those on the inside have every right to push back and push back very hard. >> because the white house says, ari, when he says that you will regret it, they say, because they think that he was fact actual wrong. he was suggesting he would regret it because he will have been proven factually wrong. do you buy that? >> i think in this isolated case it's fair for the white house to read it that way. it's also fair for woodward to interpret that way as well. neither you nor i were privacy to the conversation. we are just reading e-mails. there was something else
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indicative. that gene sperling had to apologize for the way he was in a phone call. 90% of the reporters can't get access to gene sperling, don't get to have conversations with gene sperling but what they do get is yelled at by white house officials. and particularly for younger reporters cutting their teeth, don't have the stature of a woodward, that can intimidate and especially if they only have access to a few people on the inside at the white house, they are not willing to burn bridges. they take the intimidation and don't hit hardback the way woodward would. >> ari, what world do you exist in? >> i do think there are other reporters here who would tell you very similar stories about feeling intimidated by the staff. >> you know, this is unbelievable because the right wing and the right wing echo chamber, they have this narrative that this is a tough chicago-style white house. now, i've dealt with a couple of
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white house in the last 20-plus years. they are like everybody else. they like to get their point of view out there. they like to get their story out there. and if you're some young reporter and you're afraid to pick up the phone and call gene sperling, call me first. i'll try to get them on the phone with you. these are good people. these are people working hard every day and and i'm glad that the e-mail itself. let's get back to the policy, the personalities really don't matter. i respect both men. they are great human beings but let's talk about what the policy is and that is sequester is a bad thing. it's going to hurt a lot of government workers. >> we're going to have to end it on that point. we are up against a break right now. we're going to have more on this story later here in "the situation room." gene sperling, by the way, will
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be candy crowley's guest this sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. eastern. i think you'll want to tune in. coming up next in "the situation room," the soldiers responsible for protecting the pope. a former swiss guard takes us inside that experience and opens up about a relationship with a former pope benedict xvi. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." [ barks ] ♪ oh, heavenly day here we go. ♪ cha-cha-cha ♪ don't you know that i love ya ♪ ♪ cha-cha-cha-cha-cha ♪ always thinking of ya ♪ all around the world ♪ everybody singin' along ♪ singin' along ♪ fly me to the moon ♪ let me play among the stars ♪ let me see what spring -- ♪ [ birds chirping ]
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an historic moment the world has seen in some 600 years, pope benedict making likely his last ever public appearance before officially stepping down just a few hours ago. the pope gave a final blessings to the thousands who gathered at the papal residence outside rome. all of this after an emotional farewell followed by a helicopter ride out of rome. the swiss guards assigned to
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protect the pope ended their and brian is joining us now with more. what did you find out, brian? >> reporter: wolf, this former swiss guard is convinced that the benedict did not want to go through the next decade and stood so close to this pope and to his predecessor offers a fascinating insight into their personalities. in andres' opinion, this was a man who is simply worn down and has the public demands finally lifted. >> when you're an intro vert, you lose energy by being with people. >> did he lose energy? >> i think he lost energy. >> widmer was a member of the ee
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legal swiss guard who protected the holy and also knew benedict when benedict was joseph ratzinger. >> he could work with a real crowd and with his experience in theater and poetry and everything, he would really reach people like that. >> widmer, an author who teaches at catholic university, says as a swiss guard you never spoke to a pope or cardinal unless he addressed you first but he and benedict would chat when benedict was waiting to see pope john paul. >> completely open. >> reporter: what was he like to talk to? >> very -- he would ask me what my interests were and how i felt and how i saw things. >> reporter: and with a sense of
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humor, like when benedict offered to sign widmer's copy of a book that he written which was pretty thick. >> when i gave it to him he said, you're really reading this? and i said, i'm trying. he said, it helps to do it in small steps. >> reporter: but he also had a personal crisis as a guard, spending his first christmas away from home. john paul helped him through that. >> i sort of had a meltdown and right at that moment he comes out of his apartment and he noticed and he reached out to me and he thanked me for being there and he gave me courage. >> reporter: what were you doing? were you crying? >> yeah. >> reporter: you were? >> i stopped crying but he in theed my red eyes. >> reporter: as for what's to come, the top job isn't what we think. >> the pope is the end of your life. you have to give up all privacy. you're basically locked in. you can't go where you want to go. you lose your friends, you lose your family.
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you're a prisoner. not one cardinal wants to be pope. >> reporter: he didn't want to be pope? >> no way. he wanted to go back home and write books. they are walking into the assistant chapel like this. don't make eye contact. >> reporter: really? >> nobody wants to be pope. >> reporter: i asked widmer about the so called vatileaks and the reports of sexual scandals and mismanagements which the vatican has denied, i asked him whether that might have are driven pope benedict out and he said no. benedict has been at the vatican for more than 30 years and nothing would shock him. >> brian todd, thanks very much for that report. more on the pope's last day as pope in our next hour. up next, used to seem a bit cold but now president obama is showing a softer, more emotional side. stay with us. if there is more less stuff then you might want to have some more
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so is president obama becoming a bit more mellow? did he loosen up once he was locked in for another four years. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin takes a closer look. >> reporter: president obama has been showing his softer side lately, from tears of joy, speaking to campaign workers the day after his re-election. >> i'm really proud and -- >> reporter: to tears of sadness after the newtown shooting. >> beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. >> reporter: he's not just showing his emotions, he's sharing them, too. >> i wish i had had a father who
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was around and involved. >> reporter: having some fun here with the miami heat. >> i think part of the reason they came back today is because they wanted another shot at the old guy. >> reporter: and going off script about republican tactics. >> we're just going to try to shove only spending cuts down -- well, shove spending cuts at us. >> what a difference four years makes. first president obama was known for his cold detached style. earlier in his first term he failed the empathy test with this california teacher about to be laid off. >> i got my notice on saturday and -- >> i'm sorry. you got what notice? >> my notice which means i'm going to be intentioned to be laid off. >> a pink slip? >> a pink slip. right. >> reporter: now the president's more likely to wear his heart on his sleeve.
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>> this is where michelle and i met, where we fell in love. >> reporter: and using passion for political effect, too. >> gabby giffords deserves a vote. the families of newtown deserve a vote. >> reporter: he once saved that kind of emotional rallying call for campaign-style events outside the beltway. no longer. the president's biographer says it all changed after he won re-election. >> i think we've all seen, since the day after his re-election, a more relaxed barack obama. something that took a lifetime for him to get to this point. we've really seen a new obama. >> reporter: the new obama is going where the first-term president generally wouldn't dare. talking about his buy racial
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identity, in a ueulogy for his senator. >> here i was raised in hawaii and i was beginning to sense how fitting in to the world might not be as simple as it might seem. >> remembering his troubled teenage years, speaking to kids back home in chicago. >> when i screwed up, the consequences weren't as high as when the kids on the south side screw up. i had more of a safety net. but these guys are no different than me. >> reporter: in his first term, the president was far more cautious about his past. on most topics, he just didn't go there. now as the president himself points out -- >> i've run my last election. >> reporter: -- he's free of the pressure to woo swing voters so he's using his stories to try to inspire audiences and bringing a
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more complete personality in to focus. >> i don't think one of really knows the real him but i think that it's closer to being the private and the public obama coming together in a clearer way. >> reporter: don't take our word for it. even he admits he's changed. check out his humble brag. >> the longer you're in it, the more humble you get and the more you recognize your own imperfections. >> >> reporter: humility he can afford after winning a second term. >> president obama is never going to be the i feel your pain bill clinton type of president but he's getting closer. >> jessica is joining us along with jay tapper who's covered the president these past four years as well. jessica, you first. are we going to see more of this? is that what you're hearing, a
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lot more openness from the president? >> reporter: i think we will. i don't think it's necessarily a deliberate tactic. i think this is how he functions. he wrote an auto biography in his life. he likes to use his personal biography to pitch his stories. it's how he pitched his 2008 campaign. he became incredibly cautious in his first term out of political fear and now that he's released of that because he doesn't have to run again, i suspect we'll hear more about his personal resume, his connection to people and his own experiences, how he can connect those to the policies he's pitching. >> jay, you covered him from day one from his campaign when he bit hillary clinton for the nomination and throughout these past four years. have are you seen a similar type of revolution? >> absolutely. i think jessica hits the nail on the head in talking about how he's been a certain freedom, as his biographer, david maraniss,
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referred to. also, i think there's a certain extent here of his learning how to empathize with others. on the campaign trail in 2007, 2008, some of his aides, his campaign aides would cringe when he would express irritation with people who fainted during his rallies, because they didn't have enough wine, didn't have enough food before they came. he has over the years learned to show his humanity a little bit more and try to bond with people a little bit more. it's hard to imagine that he would do the same today. he's much more out of growth politically. he'll never be bill clinton, as bill maraniss said, but he's grown politically and learned that when someone's about to be laid off, you don't say, pink slip! >> bill clinton went up to a woman and held her hand and made her feel special. >> and i think he's learned from stumbling in that regard as well.
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i did see him cry one time on the campaign trail in 2008, and that was right after his grandmother died, the day before the election of 2008, that was the first time i saw him cry. and then we never saw him cry again until the day before election 2012, when he was in iowa. >> and with his re-election, i think there's no doubt he's much more self-confident right now about where he stands and where he's going. >> and just more comfortable being who he is behind the stage, behind the scenes, in front of the cameras and having those stories. and i think jessica's exactly right. i think out of caution, he didn't talk a lot about not having a father, for example, although he did talk about it occasionally on father's day. he would allude to it, but now he's much more open, because he doesn't have anything to lose because of his own future political prospects. >> it's nice to see that. >> and it works. >> jake, thanks very much. i look forward to your new show that will be starting in a few weeks here on cnn. jessica, as usual, excellent
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job. thanks very much for sharing that. just ahead, oscar pistorius, what the case says about violence in south africa right now. also, what it says about what's going on here in the united states. target is in sight. yes, dad, i see him. now pour some chloroform into a white rag and.... no. hi. i understand you're looking for a hotel with a pool. with priceline express deals, you can save big and get exactly what you need. do i have to bid? use the stun gun. he's giving you lip. no! he's just asking a question. no bidding. awesome. get the grappling hook to... dad, i... no? ok.
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with the olympic blade runner, oscar pistorius, charged in the death of his girlfriend, "time" magazine is going in depth in its new issue. joining us, the managing editor, rick stangl. rick, thanks very much. man, superman, gunman, oscar pistorius and south africa's culture of violence. you know south africa well. you spent a lot of time there. what is the culture of violence you're referring to? >> wolf, i wanted to use a story about oscar pistorius, who
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obviously have been in the news, as a way of probe, the south african culture of violence. they have one of the highest handgun rates in the world. they have one of the top ten murder rates in the world. there are lots of interesting parallels in fact between south africa and america. it is a frontier society, where people jealously possess their guns, who are afraid of the government taking away their guns, and in many ways, this culture of violence there, i'm not saying it directly produced what happened to oscar pistorius, but, in fact, it set the table for it. >> and you referred to apartheid, which is long gone, but elements of it linger on in south africa right now, and it was underscored in the pistorius case. explain that. >> yes, they have the largest -- the largest economic inequality in the world, between basically -- basically, between white and black in south africa. and in a very strange way, the post-apartheid south africa, this rainbow nation has somehow allowed the white elites indulge
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what they want and there's been very little income increase among the most downtrodden of south africans. and that's a big problem. that's created a lot of dissension in their society and there are fissures in their society that the pistorius case really points to. >> rick stengel is the managing editor of our sister publication, "time," an excellent, excellent cover story. several other great articles in there as well. i recommend it to our viewers. rick, thanks very much. >> thank you, wolf. coming up, in arizona, there's anger over the release of hundreds of detainees. the governor of arizona, jan brewer, is standing by live and we'll talk with her.
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shaq 1, pain 0. [ male announcer ] new icy hot advanced patch with 50% more medicine. pain over. happening now, congress helps guarantee that the budget acts will, in fact, fall, by getting out of town. new backlash over those spending cuts. arizona's governors fuming about the release of hundreds of illegal immigrant detainees. she's joining us live. plus, did a white house official try to intimate the journalist bob woodward? the administration now responding to a story that broke right here in "the situation room." and eye-popping new photos of a real odd couple, north korea's kim jong-un and basketball star dennis rodman. i'm wolf blitzer with kate
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balduan. you're in "the situation room." after weeks of buildup, all the warnings, the drama, and the very little action, we're now just one day away from that witching hour when those forced budget cuts actually take effect. president obama congressional leaders still plan to sit down, talk about things tomorrow morning. will that matter at all? probably not. our chief congressional correspondent, dana bash, is standing by to explain what's going on. dana? >> reporter: well, wolf, we can now report that the $85 billion in forced spending cuts will begin to take effect late tomorrow. why can we say that? because members of the congress, they're the only ones who had the power to stop it and they're gone. lawmakers racing down the capitol steps, bolting out of town for a long weekend. this was before noon, a full day before the hammer comes down on
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forced budget cuts they voted for. is there a concern that y'all are going to leave town while these cuts kick in and you won't even be here? >> well, the speaker and the leadership will be here and i'm a quick flight away. i go home every weekend to see my family. >> reporter: you're on your way out. are you on your way home? >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: so you're not going to be here in town when these cuts kick in? >> if they call me back, i'll be back. >> but what do you think about the idea that congress and y'all won't even be here when these cuts kick in. >> we've got to go to the airport. >> reporter: you've got to go to the airport? >> yeah. >> reporter: okay, bye. >> some were unapologetic about leaving until monday. >> i think it's better when we leave, because the work we do at home is more important than the work we do here. >> this was his idea. >> reporter: but most republicans voted for it. >> i voted for it too, because i think we have to get our spending in line. these are the things, 2%, most
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families, most businesses back home have had to do the same thing. >> reporter: yet some lawmakers in both parties sounded as fed up as their constituents. >> well, we could stay here but staying here and not passing a bill, that's not even better. >> reporter: you're heading home to new york? >> yeah. i think the president should show more leadership. but to sit here by mist serves no purpose. >> reporter: most house democrats whacked republican leaders for going out of session. >> it's an absolute disgrace that we're going home. we should stay here until the sequester has ended. this is a stupid way to do it. >> reporter: but democrats do run the senate, and their last votes this week were only a few hours later. >> the motion is not agreed to. >> reporter: two proposals to alleviate the forced cuts. one democratic and one republican. partisan show boats, neither passed and neither was expected to. >> will you keep the senate in session, or will the senate not just be here just like the house will not be here the day these
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cuts kick in. >> we're in session, we're not going any place, we're ready to work, but at this stage, we don't have a partner. >> reporter: now, leaders in both parties made a point of saying they will be here tomorrow, of course, for the meeting that they will have with the president. and wolf, the president issued a statement late today saying that he is disappointed, really admonishing republicans for voting down a democratic plan that he obviously supported. that was voted on in the senate today, about replacing the forced cuts with about half new spending cuts and half tax increases. he said he looks forward to this meeting tomorrow, but wolf, i can't find a source in either party who thinks they really will make progress to stop these cuts from going forward, at least in the near future. >> not time soon, but let's see what they do by the end of march, when that so-called continuing resolution to keep the government open, when that deadline comes up as well. you'll be busy in march, as you always are. thanks very much for that report, dana bash. kate balduan is here. kate, we're following up also on that pretty, i guess call it a bombshell interview we did with
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bob woodward yesterday here in "the situation room". >> yeah, it was a very interesting day. i think we can all agree. i mean, we were really surprised when the veteran journalist told us about an e-mail he'd gotten from an obama administration official. he made it sound pretty intimidating. well, we now have the white house's side of the story and it is raising quite a lot of questions. let's bring in our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellin, for more on this. so jessica, what's the latest on this back and forth and very public spat. >> reporter: the white house is trying to prepare for a meeting and a fight with republicans over spending cuts, but they are still battling last week's war over how bob woodward covered the president's spending cuts story line. woodward claiming that he felt threatened when the president's top economist gene sperling had a phone conversation and then sent him an e-mail, following up on it. the white house says there is no way, no way woodward could have felt threatened by what gene
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sperling had to say, both because everybody knows that gene sperling is not a threat, that's what jay carney said in a brief welcome and because the nature of the e-mail itself could not be read that way. listen to this. an intimidating threat or a friendly exchange between a reporter and a white house official? >> they're not happy at all. >> reporter: at issue, a spat over bob woodward's reporting on the president's plan to avoid the looming forced spending cuts. >> it was said very clearly, you will regret doing this. >> who sent that e-mail to you? >> well, i'm not going to say. >> was it a senior person? >> a very senior person. >> reporter: that official was gene sperling, director of the national economic council, and according to the white house, his e-mail was no threat at all. in a statement, a press official said, the note suggested that mr. woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because the observation was inaccurate, nothing more. >> gene sperling, in keeping
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with a demeanor i have been familiar with for more than 20 years, was incredibly respectful. you cannot read those e-mails and come away with the impression that gene was threatening anybody. >> reporter: the key here, all-important context. in the e-mail exchange obtained by politico, sperling writes, "i apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. my bad. but i do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying that the president asking for revenues is moving the goalpost. i know you may not believe this, but as a friend, i think you will regret staking out that claim." woodward replies, "you do not ever have to apologize to me. this is all part of a serious discussion. i, for one, welcome a little heat." now woodward says it was too hot. >> i mean, it makes me very uncomfortable to have the white house telling reporters, you're
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going to regret doing something that you believe in. >> reporter: the president says he values a free press that is not afraid to ask questions, to examine, and to criticize. has he ever spoken to his aides about the tone that he would like them to take, y'all to take, when talking to the press? >> we are enormously respectful of the work that you do, that i used to do, and we also believe it's important for us to make clear when we think, as we have in the past, somebody's out there getting the facts wrong. >> reporter: now, one of the president's former advisers ratcheted up some of the pressure on this whole drama. david plouffe sent out a tweet comparing bob woodward to an aging sports star. he said, "watching woodward the last two days, as he's lodged these accusations, is like imagining my idol, mike schmidt, facing live pitching again. perfection gained once is rarely repeated." ouch. the white house says we shouldn't be focused on the back
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and forth, we should be focused on the spending cuts fight. >> we can all agree on that, but the back and forth just doesn't seem to end. i mean, one lob after the other. thanks so much, jessica. >> pretty bizarre story, i must say. let's bring in our chief political analyst, gloria borger. the substance, though, of the dispute, involves the charge that bob woodward made in that article, he wrote in "the washington post" last week, that the president moved the goalposts in saying that there had to be an alternative to the cuts, there had to be tax revenue as well. it's a pretty specific charge. >> and the white house came out swinging against woodward on this claim, because the stakes are really high here for the white house. there's bob woodward, unimpeachable journalist, who wrote this very, very well-reported book called "the price of politics," and he just came out and said, you know what, the white house agreed to a deal that said no tax incre e increases, just spending cuts. so they had to push back on
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that, because they had very carefully choreographed pr offensi offensive, which said, by the way, we always agreed to balance. they're portraying the republicans as intransigent, you know, people who don't care about the middle class, who want to protect the wealthy at your expense, so this is -- this could have been a real, real problem for them. so they had to push back. also, on the point that bob woodward said, look, this was the white house's idea, right? so they had to push back forcefully. >> and on that point, he was proven correct. >> and i would argue that in the end, when woodward got involved and you saw those e-mails, that it kind of backfired on bob woodward. >> when you look at the policy question and the fight that's going on between congress and the president, i mean, there are real risks, though, for republicans. i mean, look at recent history in the previous fights we've seen. the polls don't really seem to be in republicans' favor in this one. >> and this is the problem for the republicans. because even before they start
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this fight, they're already treading on thin ice. if you look at their favorability rating, they're at 29%. that's not anything anyone would want. the president obama is at 49%. and while the public says, you know what, we believe that the federal government is bloated, it ought to be cut, they agree with that, they don't like this meat ax approach, which is, you know, no thought as to which programs get cut. and the white house thinks, to a certain point, when people see these cuts starting to take effect, not over the weekend, but eventually they will see the long lines at the airports, they will see people getting pink slips, they will not like it, m then they will blame the republicans. my thought, quite honestly is, this they're going to blame all of them, because they're all going to look bad. >> it's going to take a while for that pain to be felt. it's not going to happen in the next few days. >> and that's where the white
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house may have overplayed their hand a little bit. because they made it seem like it was going to happen tomorrow, chicken little. >> gloria, thanks very much. the world may not see anything like this again for centuries. we'll show you the pageantry of benedict xvi's last day as pope. and we have rodman's one on one with north korea's kim jong-un. ford c-max hybrid. r c-max come. c-max go. c-max give a ride to everyone it knows. c max has more passenger volume than competitor prius v and we haven't even mentioned... c-max also gets better mpg. say hi to the super fuel efficient ford c-max hybrid. it's lots of things. all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪
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so i switched to purina cat chow healthy weight formula. i just fed the recommended amount... and they both loved the taste. after a few months max's "special powers" returned... and i got my hero back. purina cat chow healthy weight. this direct transition for the catholic church today, benedict xvi is now pope emeritus. this was benedict in his final hours of pope before he flew to a hilltop retreat and formally resigned cnn's becky anderson has more on the ceremony of this historic day and what's next for the catholic church. >> reporter: it was here at castel gandolfo that we witnessed history earlier on thursday, from the window up there, benedict xvi gave his final blessing and thanked the
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audience here for their fondness, their love, and support. his closing remarks, thank you and good night. and then this. >> it was, at this moment, that pope benedict xvi gave up the mantle of the papacy and cloisters himself away for a life of prayer and reflection. an event unprecedented in the last 600 years. a moment of history in the modern age. his vatican guards symbolically abandoning their post, leaving behind a man no longer with the authority to pronounce infallibly, no longer leading a church numbering billions of believers. the legacy of benedict's papacy has yet to be determined, but there is no doubt that the roman
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catholic church is feeling bruised, struggling with a series of crisis, financial, moral. benedict's final words to the faithful, reassuring them that it will not sink amidst choppy waters. the successor to pope benedict xvi will be determined over the coming weeks. the faithful eagerly awaiting that outcome. and on this occasion, more than maybe any other, the world watches with a similar closeness. becky anderson, castel gandolfo in italy. >> becky, thanks so much. president obama is taking sides in a supreme court case on same-sex marriage, so how far will he go? new details, ahead. [ creaking ] [ male announcer ] trophies and awards lift you up. but they can also hold you back. unless you ask, what's next? [ zapping ] [ clang ] this is the next level of performance.
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clint eastwood has joined dozens of prominent republicans, taking a stand against california's ban on same-sex marriage. the actor signed a legal brief, opposing proposition 8 along with a long list of gop leaders, including former lawmakers and administration officials. that brief is headed to the supreme court, where the justices will hear challenge to prop 8, as it's known, next month. we now know that president obama will be filing a brief as well. and our crime and justice correspondent, joe johns, has been digging into that. so what's the latest, joe? >> well, kate, we know the president supports gay rights, but until today, it was not clear whether the president's lawyer, who argues cases at the supreme court would actually file a brief, supporting marriage equality and making some type of equal protection argument. but even now, the supreme court's filing deadline approaching, there is still a question about whether the administration intends to call
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for a right to gay marriage in all the states, or something less. the administration waited until the last minute to say whether it was taking a stand on california's proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. even while prominent republicans of all stripes were jumping on the bandwagon, calling on the court to rule the state's law unconstitutional. hollywood producer and actor, clint eastwood, former republican national committee chairman, ken mehlman, former congresswoman, illeana ross layton, and beth myers, who ran mitt romney's campaign in 2008, and served as a senior adviser to him in the last campaign. former arizona congressman, jim kolbe, who is gay, said his position on gay marriage has changed over time. >> like others, i've evolved on it too. there was a time, as i mentioned, there was a time that i didn't believe that gay marriage was a possibility. so i thought, well, if we could have a civil union or something, that would be great. but i no longer believe that.
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i no longer am willing to settle for that. >> reporter: it's an important moment in the law and also in politics, because the administration's position on same-sex marriage could go a long way toward defining the obama legacy. he's already made history on the issue, becoming the first american president to mention it in an inaugural address. >> for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a live equal to their efforts. our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. >> reporter: the president's views have evolved, and he himself has said he struggled with the gay marriage issue. this is what he said in 2004. >> i believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. but i also detest the sort of
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bashing and vilifying of gays and lesbians, because i think it's unduly divisive. >> in 2008, running for president, he refine his view. >> i do not support gay marriage, but i support a very strong version of civil unions. >> reporter: may of last year was the first time he took the step of supporting it. >> for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same-sex couples should be able to get married. >> quite an evolution. with his background as a former constitutional law professor, a source tells cnn's supreme court producer, bill meres, that mr. obama actually had the final decision on whether to file a brief and what to say. >> we'll learn more about that when we see the full text. >> and not only an evolution for the president, but for millions
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of other americans as well. >> including jim kolbe, the congressman. a budget ax is about to fall, but members of congress, they have left town. so where's the urgency to solve this mess? ariana huffington and jim demint, they are standing by here in "the situation room." also ahead, the secret of north korean leader and the flamboyant basketball star. guess what, you can't make this up. ♪
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and if you get into an accident and use one of our certified repair shops, your repairs are guaranteed for life. call... to switch, and you could save hundreds. ♪ born to make mistakes liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? a lot of people aren't sure what to expect when they wake up saturday and those forced budget cuts become a reality. >> president obama may be adding to that confusion. listen to his dire warnings last week, compared to his much more toned down version yesterday. >> so these cuts are not smart, they are not fair, they will hurt our economy, they will add hundreds of thousands of americans to the unemployment rolls. this is not a distraction. people will lose their jobs. the unemployment rate might tick up again.
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this is not a cliff, but it is a tumble downward. you know, it's conceivable that in the first week, in the first two weeks, first three weeks, first month a lot of people may not notice the full impact of the sequester. >> so let's talk about these forced budget cuts and the politics behind it with our guests, arianna huffington is the editor in chief of t"the huffington post" and jim demint the the president-elect of the heritage foundation and a former republican senator from south carolina. it's great to see you both. thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> arianna, first to you. you just heard those two clips of the president just a week apart or even just days apart, so what do you think is the change? what's the change in tone? >> well, there's no question that the u.s. economy is in a fragile state, with 25 million, 26 million people unemployed or underemployed. so removing demand from the economy at this time, and doing
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it in such a completely haphazard way is not going to help. it's going to make it much harder for growth to happen. it's going to make it much harder for jobs to be added. so it really is an incredible sign of how dysfunctional our political system has become, and i'm sure senator demint is happy to be out of it at the moment. >> senator, i want to get your take on this as well, because you heard that change in tone from president obama. at the same time, you have many republicans saying that it's all scare tactics. these dire warnings are not going to live up to what they -- what they're offering. but at the same time, this will effect people. jobs are on the line. so where's the urgency amongst republicans in congress? >> well, over the next ten years, we plan to increase spending 69% without the sequester. with the sequester, we plan to increase spending 67%. there are no cuts here. the president knows that his
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policies, whether it be dodd/frank, obama care, or the tax increases will probably result in increased unemployment. he's trying to set the stage to suggest that this small cut in spending will have any kind of effect related or similar to what his tax increases have done. >> but at the same time, senator, both john mccain as well as speaker boehner have both called these cuts incredibly dangerous as well. >> well, it's dangerous in the sense that most of the cuts or at least half of them are coming directly from the military, which has already experienced some budget cuts. so the defense system in our country is only about 20% of total spending, but 50% of the cuts come from it. and in that sense, it does weaken our security. but defense spending will still increase 16% over the next ten years. so, there are no cuts here. there's a slight reduction in the increases of spending. the real damage to our economy is going to come from the tax increases and other policies,
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such as the implementation of obama care. >> so, arianna, what were you hinting at before? you think these cuts will create more employment? will weaken economic growth? is that what you're suggesting? >> exactly. and, you know, i think senator demint and many republicans really believe that the major problem we're facing is the deficit and many economists believe that the major problem we are facing is unemployment. and the fact that kids are graduating from college and they cannot find jobs, and we've seen all around europe, how austerity measures that are focusing on the deficit have not worked. >> let me interrupt, arianna. you do want some spending cuts, i assume, don't you? >> absolutely. there are many areas, farm subsidies, for example, which were on the line. a lot of the loopholes that need to be closed. there has to be entitlement reform, no question about that. but it has to be done in a
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thought-out way. and to actually keep defending the bush tax cuts for the richest americans or to keep defending the fact that we still have the current interest rate be not provide a level playing field for those in the financial sector, compared to those in the manufacturing sector, all these things don't make sense, and they are only going to weaken the economy. >> senator, you know, you were just in this town, you're still in this town, but you know political washington is all about the blame game. who's to blame when something bad happens. and it seems that if you look at the polls recently, and recent history, that republicans are facing some tough polling. that voters, americans, if this sequester goes through, they're going to put the blame on republicans more than they're going to put the blame on the president. shouldn't republicans be concerned about that? because i'll tell you, i don't sense urgency amongst anyone in this town to get anything done in the next 48 hours. >> well, i'm not going to speak
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for republicans, but i can say this. if government spending improved our economy and created jobs, we would have the best economy and the least unemployment we've ever had, because we've, almost double spending the last ten years. the plan is to take it up nearly another 70% in the next ten years. the problem is, is that we're spending too much, we have record revenues this year, even with the sequester, we'll spend more this year than we ever have in history. so it's really laughable that the president is acting like this is an apocalyptic situation. it really goes back to where i started. the president's policies are hurting our economy. they have for many months. the last quarter of last year, we actually contracted as an economy. that had nothing to do with the sequestration or anything that's happening now. the policies are hurting us. he needs to blame it on someone else. hopefully, the republicans will not allow themselves to get
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blamed, because it's not their policies that are in effect right now. >> go ahead and respond, arianna. >> well, you know, it's unfortunate that senator demint is not willing to look at the fact that the private sector is not spending, is not investing, that we have companies sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars, and not creating jobs. and that's precisely the time when the government needs to step in and do things that should be done in any case, even if we're at full employment, like infrastructure spending. i mean, our bridges are crumbling, our roads are crumbling. this is precisely the time for private/public partnerships to create the kind of infrastructure that we need in order to grow our economy. the same thing with the payroll tax holiday, which was ended. anything we can do right now, both to encourage the private sector to create jobs and to actually get the government to help create jobs. who have a lot of the cards for
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teachers police force, at the state and local level, which are dramatically impacting people's lives and communities. >> arianna huffington, jim demint, guys, thanks very much. we'll continue this conversation. also, i want to leave the conversation with something we can all agree on. arianna, congratulations. we understand you've raised $1 million for nonprofit groups to help create more jobs in the united states. the challenge ends tomorrow. and i want to let our viewers know, anyone who's interested can get information at jobraising.com. >> congratulations, arianna. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. good to see you. still ahead, arizona governor jan brewer will be joining us. she'll be speaking to wolf about why she's angry over the release of hundreds of immigration detainees. and later, how's this for bizarre. ex-nba star dennis rodman becomes the first american to meet and hang out with the reclusive north korean leader, kim jong-un. take tylenol or take aleve,
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white house officials say president obama and other high-ranking administration officials here in washington were caught by surprise by the release of illegal immigrant detainees over the past week. the immigration and customs enforcement administration, i.c.e. for short, says several hundred low-risk people were released to less costly forms of supervision as a money-saving move ahead of this weak's forced spending cuts. arizona's governor, jan brewer, she's appalled by this decision. she's joining us now from mountain view, california. governor, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. it's a pleasure to be with you. >> i'll play a clip, i interviewed earlier sheriff paul babu, a man you know from
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arizona. he's outraged as well. listen to what he told me. >> this was done under the cloak of secrecy. i.c.e. never announced this. they never called any police chief in my county or myself as a top law enforcement official. i have a problem with that. these people are now out in the community, there was no preparation or coordination for this. we all know recidivism or the return of committing crimes is very high with any prison population. >> all right, governor, you're the leader in arizona. did officials in washington alert you to what they were doing? >> no, they did not contact my office, nor did they contact my homeland security division in the state of arizona. >> they say, these officials at i.c.e., that these are low-level detainees and really don't pose any serious risk to the population. you buy that? >> no, i certainly don't buy
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that. we know that the policy has been arrest and release those people that have not been involved in prior arrests or prior criminal activity. so these people have a criminal record, is what i believe. i would like to have that for a fact, and i can't say that, but we know that traditionally, they arrest and they release or they tba, or they turn them back around. so this is a criminal element that the federal administration has decided to release on to the communities and to the united states and it's wrong and it is outrageous. and it is appalling. to do something of this magnitude and not contact myself or my homeland security people, it's just unbelievable. unbelievable! >> have you been in touch with officials at the department of homeland security and i.c.e. your former governor, janet napolitano, she's in charge of the department of homeland security. have you communicated your
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concerns to them? >> i have not. i would assume that my -- well, i know that my homeland security department has probably been in contact with them. but the amazing thing about it, the day before they did this, i was in washington, d.c. with the secretary. and no comment, nothing. it's just a little bit over the top. and now, they're saying nobody knows this, nobody knows that. and you know, it's duck and cover. and it's unfortunate that we don't even realize or we don't even know who's running our country. >> you believe that? >> it's very disappointing. it's very disappointing. >> you believe them when they say the president, nobody official, no senior official in the white house knew, janet napolitano, other senior officials in the department of homeland security didn't know this was done at the ice level by career officials? >> well, the bottom line is is that it's that old saying, the buck stops here, whether you're governor or president, the buck
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stops with you. >> so what can be done to remedy this? >> well, you know, enforcing the law, doing their job, and, you know, and in the mind-set of that they're trying to say that this is, you know, cutting the budget, because of what's going on in the senate, is a little bit outrageous. we need a federal government with leadership to lead this country back to prosperity. that means he needs to get into the congress and lead us out of this mess. >> because, as you know, if there are these forced, mandatory, across-the-board, meat cleaver type of someoning cuts, i.c.e. is going to be dramatically affected by this and they're going to probably be releasing more of these illegal immigrant detainees? >> exactly. and, you know, from day one, this was the president's program. >> but the republicans voted overwhelmingly -- republicans
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voted overwhelmingly -- it was the president's and the white house's idea, but republicans everwhelmingly supported what's called those sequesters or those forced budget cuts language. >> you know, wolf, when i became governor of the state of arizona, i was facing a $3 billion budget deficit with a $1 billion budget. $3 billion, and i as governor, i had to make tough decisions and i had to bring people to the table and i had to get the job done. and we did it by cutting spending, we did it by doing strategic cutting. but we got it done. and that's what they need to do. and that's what the president ought to do. he ought to be over there, doing the job they ought to be doing to get this country turn eed around and get it back to prosperity. he is the leader of our country, just as i am the leader of arizona. >> well, we'll see what happens. i suspect the forced cuts will go into effect at midnight tomorrow night. governor brewer, we'll stay in close touch. thank you. >> thank you, wolf. up next, is this strange
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enough for you? take a look at this. dennis rodman turns diplomat. the controversial ex-nba star. he's palling around with north korea's secretive leader, kim jong-un. they're courtside at a basketball game in pyongyang. chances are, you're not made of money, so don't overpay for motorcycle insurance. geico, see how much you could save.
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take a good look at this picture. i don't know about you, but i love seeing it. can't believe what i'm seeing, in fact. it's hard to overstate how weird it is. the secretive leader of north korea, kim jong-un, now bffs with a basketball star, dennis rodman. they're boat in pyongyang, watching a little basketball. mary snow is in new york. she's got the pictures, she's
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got the story behind the story. explain, mary, what happened. he is the first american to meet with the new leader of north korea. >> who would have thought dennis rodman? and it's hard to imagine getting more bizarre than this. dennis rodman arrived in north korea with the harlem globetrotters earlier this week to film a documentary for hbo, which like cnn, is owned ed bee warner. and today, a surprising bond with kim jong-un. these two give new meaning to the odd couple. basketball hall of famer dennis rodman and north korean dictator, kim jong-un, chumming it up courtside in pyongyang. rodman is said to have told his new buddy that he now has a friend for life. they watched the harlem globetrotters play basketball as part of a new hbo show being filmed. >> our tagline is the it's the absurdity of the modern condition. >> shane smith is the show's producer. he sent rodman and the
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globetrotters to north korea earlier this week for a little basketball diplomacy. state media showed them touring pyongyang. it was not assured that they'd have an audience with the feared leader, but in the end, they not only met with him, but dined with him at his palace after the game. once at the palace, the theme from the show "dallas" was said to be constantly playing in the background. the bizarre meeting comes just weeks after north korea had announced that it had conducted a nuclear test and tensions with the u.s. are particularly high. former white house adviser and negotiator, victor cha says while this meeting is surprising, kim jong-un has done a lot of unpredictable things since taking over. >> well, i think the north koreans try to use opportunities like this to congratulate themselves on their accomplishments, as they see them, as well as congratulate this new leadership and try to give him legitimacy on a world stage. so, yes, it is a poke in the eye
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of the administration, because outside the world of basketball diplomacy, things are moving in a completely different direction. >> reporter: while north korea has no love for the u.s., it does have a soft spot for basketball and the chicago bulls. former secretary of state madeleine albright even gave former leader kim jong-il a basketball signed by michael jordan as part of her negotiations. since rodman played for the bulls and seems up for anything, the show's producer saw an opening. >> so if we can open line of communication, if we can have dialogue, it's always better to talk than to fight. that's what we hope comes out of this. >> now, the film crew is said to have invited kim jong-un to america, which was apparently met with laughter. and in case you were wondering, in that exhibition game that was played today, it had mixed teams of both american and north korean players, the final score was tied at 110. >> a diplomatic score, indeed, a tie. thanks very much. i love this story. mary snow, reporting for us. >> it's pretty hard to top that, i'll tell you that much.
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but we're going to do it. cnn's erin burnett is going "outfront" tonight on the future of the catholic church after pope benedict's historic resignation. erin, it was great watching you this morning, covering it live as the helicopter was leaving and heading over to the retreat. >> it was amazing watching that helicopter. as we said, you couldn't get a better advertisement for the glory of rome than that ride that the pope took today. history was made today, and we're going to tackle the taboo issue in the church, and we're talking about sex and celibacy. tonight we've got a nun who left the church because she fell in love, a priest who left the church because he fell in love, and a priest who is staying in the church and who believes in celibacy. and the mysterious death of an american work for a secretive and prestigious government firm. >> we'll be there, top of the hour, erin. and when we come back, we're just now getting results of our very own test of anheuser-busch's beer. is it watered down? it's a question we were asked this week. we're going to find out the results, next. try align.
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tell your doctors you are taking xarelto® before any planned medical or dental procedures. before starting xarelto®, tell your doctor about any conditions, such as kidney, liver or bleeding problems. ready to change your routine? ask your doctor about once-a-day xarelto®. for more information including cost support options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit goxarelto.com. yesterday we reported on a lawsuit alleging that anheuser-busch's breweries were watering down budweiser beer and several other brands. the budweiser label says 5% by volume, but the lawsuit alleges it's a lot less. so we decided to test it for ourselves using an independent lab to find it all out. well, here are the results. they're just in. budweiser showed 4.94% instead of 5%. bud light showed 4.13% instead
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of 4.2. not exactly evidence of watered down beer, i guess, and well within the government's standards for accuracy. the samples were bought in the san diego area and different bottles from different batches might produce different results. the lawsuit said it relaid not on lab tests, but on accounts from the former brewery employees. >> looks like it's pretty close. >> pretty close. other news. it seemed like an amazing rescue. here's jeanne moos. >> reporter: this is a tale of two rescues. this one's fake and this one's real. a deer unable to get up on a slippery ice-covered canadian bay was rescued by a helicopter's spinning blades. >> the wash was so powerful that it actually started to push the deer. >> reporter: pushed her all the way to shore, but, oh, dear! the pig pushing a babiy goat is a hoax. it was put on